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How to Stop Sugar Cravings

Pull Your Sweet Tooth with These Tips

-- By Holly Little, Certified Personal Trainer

Do you feel like you're constantly giving in to your sweet tooth? Are your cravings so constant that they're hard to ignore? Like any other habit, turning to sugar can be a tough one to kick. It seems like the more sweets and desserts you have, the more you are waiting for the next hit. Where does the battle end?

There isn't a single cure-all to this problem, but in general, the less sweets you eat, the less you'll crave them. So how do you get to that point? Here are a few tips that just might help you pull your own sweet tooth once and for all.

  • Try to find a substitute. Generally, people tend to crave sweets after a meal or as a pick-me-up in the late afternoon. It might be helpful to have something else there and ready to fight off those cravings. For example, peppermint tea might work in the evening, a box of raisins in the afternoon, a piece of fruit, or anything else that you can think of that would be somewhat nutritious and easy to keep with you. If you must have "sweet," go with something that's naturally sweet, such as dried fruit or even 100% fruit juice.
     
  • Wait out the craving. Most nutrition experts say that the cravings you experience will only last a couple of minutes. So if you can wait it out, they will pass and you will be better for it. Try to occupy yourself for a good 10 minutes when you get a craving. Call a friend, take a short walk or do something to distract yourself.
     
  • Set daily goals and reward yourself for meeting them. To a sugar addict, nothing is tougher than getting through the day without a sugary treat. The longer you can hold out, the easier it will become, so try to find a reward that would be worth holding out for. I did this about a year ago and gave myself a dollar for every day that I did not indulge in sweets, and at the end of the month, I would go get a manicure or buy myself something nice. <pagebreak>
     
  • Recruit someone to do it with you. If you are married or have a family, this would be a healthy habit for everyone to adopt. Clean out the cupboards and refrigerator of unhealthy foods and tempting treats. Make it a team effort. Hold each other accountable and support one another through the tough times.
     
  • Put yourself in good situations. If you are one who loves to use the vending machines at work or will drive through the local gas station to fill up on snacks, then try to do things in a new way to prevent yourself from falling into old habits. Clean out all of the change and single dollar bills in your wallet so you aren't able to feed the vending machine. Make sure you fill up on gas when someone is with you. Go grocery shopping after a meal, so you don’t load up on unhealthy foods.
     
As hard as it might be to believe, you CAN quit the sugar habit. Not only will you probably lose some weight, but you will feel better and more energetic. Good luck!

Need more information on where hidden sugar may be lurking in your food? Check
out this helpful resource from the USDA.
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